EFF Won Court Ruling Against “Patent Troll”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) won a court ruling against Personal Audio (a company many have described as a “Patent Troll”.) The key thing to know about the ruling that the court affirmed “…that an infamous podcasting patent used by a patent troll to threaten podcasters big and small was properly held invalid by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).”

The case called Personal Audio, LLC, v Electronic Frontier Foundation was heard by a three judge panel at the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. In a thirteen-page ruling with plenty of detailed explanation given, the judges concluded: “The decision of the PTAB holding claims 31-35 of the ‘504 Patent unpatentable is affirmed.” The EFF points out that this will keep podcasting safe, for now.

This case started in 2013, when EFF filed a petition at the USPTO challenging the so-called podcasting patent owned by Personal Audio, and asking the court to use an expedited process for taking a second look at the patent.

EFF’s petition showed that Personal Audio did not invent anything new and, in fact, other people were podcasting years before Personal Audio first applied for a patent.

In April of 2015, the Patent Office invalidated all the challenged claims of the podcasting patent, finding that the patent should not have been issued in light of two earlier disclosures, one relating to CNN news clips and one relating to CBC online radio broadcasting.

Personal Audio challenged the Patent Office decision, but the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit agreed with EFF that the patent did not represent an invention, and podcasting was known before Personal Audio’s patent was applied for.